Local History & Genealogical Resources

E.G. Fisher Public Library currently has over 1,000 books for the local history researcher, including county histories, transcribed county records, family histories, military histories, and church records. McMinn County, in particular, is the focus of the collection; however, the collection includes material on other East Tennessee counties, general Tennessee history, and genealogical material of other southern states, particularly Virginia and North Carolina.


Vital Records

Birth and death records were not kept officially by the State of Tennessee until 1914. Our holdings include the microfilm death records for McMinn County from 1914 to 1925; the index to the death records for TN covers 1914 to 1942. Early death records are also on microfilm from 1908-1912. Transcribed death certificate records of McMinn County from 1914-1945 are also available. (publications of McMinn County Historical Society)

County Information

Material on individual counties in Tennessee is arranged alphabetically in the collection under the call # HIST 976.82 (name of county), i.e. HIST 976.82 MCMINN.Included in each county’s section are transcribed county records, city directories, cemetery records, county histories, and funeral home records. County records can include marriage, court, will and estate, and deed records.
The microfilm holdings for McMinn County include extensive county records dating back to the formation of the county in 1819 up into the present time.

Census Records

Federal Census records taken every 10 years exist for McMinn County from 1830 to1930; there is no 1890 census record.The original census record can be examined on microfilm and/or on Heritage Quest and Ancestry databases.There are also indices to the census records for Tennessee counties from 1830 – 1870; we also have census records on microfilm for many contiguous counties to McMinn County. Census records help establish many clues to an ancestor’s life – an age, the county of residence, how they made a living, who else lived in the household in the particular census year.

Family Histories/Family Files

The library houses much information on families in published works on particular families and in family files. Look for collective family histories under call #HIST 929.3 and for individual family histories under call # HIST 929.33, alphabetical by surname. The family file contains folders of information on particular surnames.This is housed at the Circulation desk with a surname index. These files often contain letters written to the courthouse or to the library requesting information, unpublished family histories, newspaper clippings, and sometimes photographs.


The library has newspapers of McMinn County on microfilm, some dating back into the 1800s; we maintain a continuous run of the Daily Post Athenian from its beginning in 1929 to the present. To find death notices in the DPA, we maintain an Obituary Index to the Daily Post Athenian.At present, it spans the years 1963 to 2004.

Bible Records

The library has three unpublished volumes of compiled Bible records of families from McMinn County. Housed in HIST 976.82 MCMINN.

Military Records

Military records can primarily be found in published books in the Historical Collection.Valuable research resources include but are not limited to:
HIST 973.7War of the Rebellion –Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.
The Tennessee Civil War Veterans Questionnaires.
Tennesseans in the Civil War.
HIST 973.3 Roster of Soldiers from North Carolina in the American Revolution.
HIST 976.89 MCMINN World War Veterans and Ex-Service Men of McMinn County, TN

Athens Browning Circle Records

The Athens Browning Circle, a women’s federated club, existed in Athens from 1891-1994. E.G. Fisher Public Library came into being in large part because of the efforts of the Athens Browning Circle. The library was housed in their clubhouse from mid 1940s to 1969. When the Browning Circle ceased operation in 1994, the library became the recipient of their assets, including their yearly minute books and journals which recorded memberships and programs for each year.As part of the Historical Collection, the library maintains a permanent exhibit honoring the Athens Browning Circle.

Online Resources

Heritage Quest Online is available from home and in the library through the Tennessee Electronic Library

Genealogy Resources

The majority of the resources listed are free to the public.
Compiled Family Data
Historical Records
Census Records
Libraries and Archives
Tennessee History and Genealogy

Learning About Genealogy

  • Ancestors

    Under Helpful Resources, click “5-step process.”
    Useful on-line tutorial with built-in tests and answer keys. Free pedigree charts and group sheets.
    To print, locate “Online Tools” and click “Free Charts.”
    A link to Adobe Acrobat Reader is provided if needed.
  • Family Search
    Site of the LDS (Mormon) church. Use “How Do I Begin” for their 5-step process for beginning genealogy. Use “Search for Ancestors: Step-by-step Research Guidance” as a tutorial for using the LDS records on the web.
  • Family Tree Maker Online

    Commercial site from front-running genealogy software maker.
    Offers 1900 census with every-name index.
    Use the link, “Helpful Web Sites” to find How-To articles.
    Use the “Site Features” link to find Classes.

Compiled Family Data

  • Family Search
    Search the databases of the LDS church – free of charge.
    Use “Search for Ancestors” to search four different data sources: Ancestral File – compiled genealogical data from contributors.
    IGI – individual bits of data (birth, marriage, death) from many sources.
    Pedigree File – similar to ancestral file; only the index is on the web.
    Web sites – searches sites selected by LDS, very limited.
    Some entries allow user to contact original contributor.
    Use the “Share Information” option to upload your data.
  • Ancestry World Tree
    Part of Ancestry’s commercial site, but this database is free.
    Family data contributed by subscribers and users.
    Note various options of ways to view data: register style is most readable.
  • Rootsweb World Connect

    Free database using family information contributed by thousands of genealogists.
    Appears to be less comprehensive than Family Search or Ancestry World Tree, but can be used as an alternative search site.
    Some lineages appear on several sites; in other cases there will be discrepancies between sites, even about the same individual.

Mailing Lists & Bulletin Boards

  • Rootsweb Mailing Lists
    Accessible to anyone with e-mail address. Receive messages posted by everyone on the list.

    Lists are not moderated, but generally subscribers follow etiquette rules.
    Use “Browse Archives” to check number of subscribers; determine popularity of lists.
  • Genforum Message Boards
    Accumulated messages and responses by surname, locale or subject.

    Able to show an outline of all the “threads” of responses to a single message, and to trace up and down through them.
    Check total number of postings to determine popularity of list.
    Use “Forum Finder” to search for surname lists, lists by location or subject.
  • Rootsweb Message Boards
    Similar to Genforum with slightly different format.

    Check both Genforum and Rootsweb, different genealogists posts to each one.
    One surname may be more active on one or the other of them.

Historical Records

  • U.S. GenWeb
    Nationwide volunteer project, with a web site for every county in the US (there is also a world-wide site).

    County pages vary in usefulness, many contain some local record abstracts.
    Pages usually also contain references to local libraries and historical/genealogical societies.
    Each page also includes query service – links to post queries or view archived queries.
  • Ancestry’s Free Databases
    Commercial site with free access to selected databases.

    Select “List all Databases” to see what is available; most will be inaccessible without subscription.
    Caution: database titles often promise more than they deliver.
  • Freedmen’s Bureau
    Full text of many records, including marriages of former slaves.
    Reports of Klan activities and other harassment of freedmen.
    Labor contracts negotiated between former slaves and landowners.
  • Federal Land
    Search purchasers of Federal Lands beginning in 1820.
    Most lands in Alabama, Mississippi and the upper Midwest.
    View and print original land patent at no cost.
  • Social Security Death Index
    Records for deceased members of the SS system from about 1962.
    Useful for identifying strayed family members, finding death dates.
  • Vital Records

    Information for obtaining births, records, marriages in each state.
    Describes which records are available by year, where to request.
    Some states allow downloading of forms and online index searches.
  • Making of America

    Making of America is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum to reconstruction including the civil war correspondences found in War of the Rebellion Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.

Census Records

  • Heritage Quest
    Use “Census Research Headquarters” to find reel numbers for census by year and county.
    Membership is free, cost is $3.25/reel.
  • Census Microfilm Rental Program

    Your local library can borrow census microfilm through this service for patron use, or patrons can join as individuals.
    Fee is $7.50 per roll for first roll, with discounts on additional rolls.
  • Census Forms
    Forms for all census years, show all columns

    Very helpful when transcribing data – and free!
  • Soundex Converter

    Rootsweb site for determining Soundex code.
    Use in conjunction with Heritage Quests reel listings for Soundex.
  • Census Online
    Follow “Links to Online Data” and search by state/county.
    Very few full transcriptions are on the web; many partials or special census records.
  • Statistical Census Data
    Powerful search engine for census data including population, religion, manufacturing and agriculture, slavery, ethnic groups.
    Not for individual name searching; but to learn about ancestors’ locale.
    Search by census year for state summaries, then break down by counties.
    Match two or more variables for comparisons; use graphing function.
  • Clues in Census Records
    Quick reminder page for important changes in data collected by each census.

    Useful link to NARA’s naturalization page.

Libraries & Archives

  • LDS Library
    From the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) in Salt Lake.
    Under Family History Library, link to extensive catalog of books and microfilm.
    Note that these records include both original documents(microfilmed county records, for example) and published works.
    Microfilm (but not print materials) may be borrowed through their Family History Library System. Addresses and hours provided.
  • Library of Congress
    Massive catalog can be searched on line, beginning at their genealogy page.

    Limitation: a large database, so a high number of irrelevant hits is common.
  • LSG: Genealogy Libraries on the Web

    Not a comprehensive list, but a good way to find a genealogy library in a place you are not familiar with.

Tennessee History & Genealogy

  • Tennessee State Library and Archives

    Click on History & Genealogy.
    This site won an award for it’s content. Search vital records, Tennessee newspapers, county or census records. Special features include searchable military records, a manuscript guide, TN place names and maps, historical photos and images, and many services are available through the mail.
  • McMinn County Historical Society and Archives
    Major content includes Publications for Sale, Family Files, and Research Books.
    Additional links are provided.
  • Osiyo : McMinn County Tennessee Links
    Many local information sites.
  • Other State Libraries Links to all State Library web sites
    Many state libraries have large genealogical collections.

    Virtually all have on-line catalogs at these web sites. Some will have other genealogical aids.
  • Other State Archives Links to all State Archives web sites
    Many of these sites contain indexes to state records, information about how to request copies of records, and other genealogical aids.
  • National Archives
    Go to The Research Room, then History and Genealogy for great overviews and research tips on a variety of subjects.
    In the Research Room follow link to search the ARC catalog. ARC can be searched for surnames, but main use is for subjects.
    When searching ARC, always view the Series record for details.
  • My Tennessee GenealogyNew!

    Search via county for many resources.

People Searching & Maps

  • Switchboard
    Search for individuals, or to find everyone of a surname in a place.

    Must know the state, or search each one individually.
    Sites are very similar but different data is retrieved from each.
  • Yahoo Maps
  • MapQuest
    Both sites will provide maps of cities, streets, addresses.
    Use with old city directories to identify ancestor’s home or business location.
    Zoom in-and-out feature can be difficult to get used to.
    Can provide driving directions, but remember it is a computer and has never actually driven anywhere!
  • United States Geological Survey – Geographic Names Information System
    Detailed maps of the entire United States.
    Includes geographical features such as creeks, mountains, etc.
    Includes all incorporated and unincorporated towns.
    Includes many named man-made features such as schools, cemeteries.
    Powerful search engine can search by all of these features; links to map.

The resources listed above were reviewed and selected by Chuck Sherrill, Director of Brentwood Library, Brentwood, Tenn., for his workshop entitled, “Genealogy for 2003 and Beyond: A Solinet Workshop”.


Miscellaneous Sources

Updated August 2021

Health Agency Resources

Health Agency Resources

Stay up to date with federal and state health resources.

 CDCTN Dept of Health 1

Keep up with the latest updates from local school districts

 ACS                                               Etowah City SchoolsMcMinn County Schools

Summer Lunch Program

Summer Lunch Program

healthy lunches-01
Every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the summer, beginning June 16, the Library will be providing a free, healthy lunch for children who live in the Athens area from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. as a part of a program through Athens City Schools. The lunches will be served on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information about this program, contact the Library at 745-7782.

Tennessee Resources

The Official Site of the State of Tennessee

Tennessee Blue Book Online
The official manual of Tennessee state government and includes information on our elected officials, the various branches and agencies of state government, historic and statistical data, and election returns

Tennessee Civil War Sourcebook
Sponsored by the Tennessee Historical Commission, this is an online project that identifies activities and attributes citations dealing with the war in the Volunteer Stat

Center for Business and Economic Research
Source for many statistical sites pertaining to Tennessee, and the United States

Cover Kids
Es un programa de cobertura de salud a bajo costo para ninos y mujeres embarazadas que cumplen con las reglas de elegibilidad para el programa. Si Ud. necesity ayuda con la aplicacion, llamenos al 1-866-626-3409. La llamdada es gratis. Los servicios del interprete del idioma estan disponibles en muchos idiomas incluyendo Espanol. 

Cover Tennessee
Governor Phil Bredesen’s multi-pronged effort, Cover Tennessee, extends health insurance coverage to uninsured individuals in Tennessee through three insurance programs and a pharmacy assistance program. Cover Tennessee provides health insurance options for uninsured children through CoverKids; for small businesses through CoverTN and for chronically ill adults through AccessTN. Those who have a critical need for pharmacy assistance can get help through CoverRX. Pick up a free brochure at the information rack within E.G. Fisher Public Library, visit the web site, or call 1-866-COVERTN

McMinn County Vocational Rehabilitation Center
Helps those who qualify find and keep employment. (423) 744-2800 ext. 115

Tennessee Code and Constitution
Search the Tennessee state laws

TN Disability Pathfinder / Información de Discapacidad
Information on how to obtain help for family members who may have a disability. Spanish language version is also available.

Tennessee Driver Manuals
Driver’s license study guides in English and Spanish as well as CDL and motorcycle manuals

Tennessee Electronic Atlas
A helpful feature of this site includes the ability to zoom into any particular locale, the topographic maps change to aerial photographic overlays. For those seeking a wealth of information, spatial and otherwise, about the state of Tennessee, this site is a must.

Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture
A definitive and comprehensive reference work on the Volunteer State. Search by keyword for full-text articles, locate historical texts by title or author, and browse the Image, Media, and Map Galleries. The site also features “Other Links“, a thorough listing of additional Tennessee historical resources. 

Tennessee Heritage Online
Digital Collections from Tennessee Libraries, Archives, and Museums

Tennessee History
A Guide to Primary Sources

Tennessee Statistical Abstract, 2003
Economic and demographic data are presented in easy-to-read tables, maps, and graphs for Tennessee counties, cities, and also southeastern states. In addition to the customary information on population, personal income, and employment, the 2003 edition includes tables with data for affirmative action employment searches, educational attainment, housing prices and retail sales.  Source notes for most tables now include the internet address of the source agency. With detailed information in 19 subject areas, plus rankings and an extensive index, the Tennessee Statistical Abstract is the most comprehensive source available for information on Tennessee. 

Tennessee : Unclaimed Property
Updated daily. Tennessee’s Unclaimed Property Office may have money to return to you! If you have forgotten about a savings account, utility deposit, stock dividend, credit card overpayment, etc., then you should check this site!

Tennessee Virtual Archive
Highlights from the collections of the Tennessee State Library and Archives. The Tennessee Virtual Archive (TeVA), is a program of the State Library and Archives to create a digital repository of Tennessee history and culture. Their mission is to bring electronic versions of the state’s rich collections to a wider audience. TeVA provides a searchable array of historical records, photographs, documents, maps, postcards, film, audio and other original materials of enduring value.

Volunteer Voices
Volunteer Voices is a state-wide digitization project that will provide access to primary sources that document Tennessee’s rich history and culture. Volunteer Voices combines the collaborative efforts to Tennessee archives, historical societies, libraries, museums, and schools. (currently in Beta format)


CFLC Reference Desk
Hundreds of web sites listed under different subject areas.

Encarta Encyclopedia
A free scaled down version of the CD-Rom product

Federal Citizen Information Center
Obtain federal brochures on a variety of topics, including Medicare. This site included a version in Español, and one specifically designed for sight reader machines.

Find Articles: the Web’s First Free Article Search
Search and read 2.8 million articles from over 500 publications. You may search for publications by name, or subject.

Internet Public Library
Includes subject collections, ready reference, Reading Room, KidSpace, TeenSpace, Special Collections, searching tools, and more!

Librarian’s Index to the Internet
“Information You Can Trust.” Librarians’ Index to the Internet (LII) is a searchable, annotated subject directory of more than 14,000 Internet resources selected and evaluated by librarians for their usefulness to users of public libraries. LII is used by both librarians and the general public as a reliable and efficient guide to Internet resources.

The Library Spot
Encyclopedias, maps, online libraries, quotations, dictionaries, and more!

Our Documents
Over 100 of the United States’ most important documents. The Our Documents initiative is a cooperative effort among National History Day, The National Archives and Records Administration, and USA Freedom Corps.

United States Chamber of Commerce Directory
Locate a Chamber of Commerce near you!

My Virtual Reference Desk
The Refdesk is full of facts and figures, updated news, and links to sources from phone books to world clocks.

The World Factbook
Provides national-level information on countries, territories, and dependencies.

At the Library: See our Quick REF section for more resources on a variety of subjects.


Vocational Guidance / Career Development

  • Tennessee Career Information Delivery System: TCIDS guides students to careers that fit their interests and career goals. It includes a Job Search questionnaire designed to assist students in search of career ideas, a searchable career database with 700 job descriptions and images, an educational institution questionnaire designed to assist students in search of post-secondary educational opportunities, and a searchable educational institution database with links to 1,000 post-secondary institutions and 178 military career information pages. In cooperation with The Tennessee Department of Education.
  • Tennessee Economic Council on Women: The Council’s mentoring campaign promotes a wide range of careers in healthcare, engineering, computer technology, science, business ownership and more.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook, Online Edition: a nationally recognized source of career information, designed to provide valuable assistance to individuals making decisions about their future work lives. Revised every two years, the Handbook describes what workers do on the job, working conditions, the training and education needed, earnings, and expected job prospects in a wide range of occupations.
  • O*Net OnLine: Dictionary of Occupational Titles, Occupational Information Network : Search by occupation, skills, or codes issued by the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT), Registered Apprenticeship Information System (RAIS), Military Occupational Classification (MOC), and the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC). Each entry can be viewed in a summary or detailed format. Entries include information on tasks, knowledge required, skills, abilities, work activities, work context, and related occupations. Other categories include Job Zone, interests, work value, and work needs. The Wages & Employment section gives the average salary in each state.
  • Miscellaneous Links: Over 50 different links to additional career information resources, including disability Online, Job Corps, and Welfare to Work, etc.

At the Library:
Check resources in our Reference Collection within the 331.1 to 331.7 call numbers.

See also the Online Catalog, checking subjects such as: career development, careers, occupations, vocational guidance, and individual career topics.